Property Disputes in Hawaii
Property disputes in Hawaii are common between neighbors. They even occur between companies and governments. People want to protect what is legally theirs, but sometimes the boundary lines are not clear. Find out what you can do if you have a property dispute in Hawaii. Discover the legal remedies and actions that can help you clear up a misunderstanding or manage an issue involving your property.
What Is a Property Dispute?
Property disputes are legal disputes that involve real estate, including single-family homes, apartments, roads, condominiums, and ponds. Hawaii property disputes can involve a wide range of parties, which might include some of the following:
- Homeowners’ association
- Landlords and tenants
- Family members
- Property visitors
- Government agencies
The Hawaii Judiciary states that small claims courts typically handle the majority of property disputes for the state. If you find yourself in such a dispute, this is most likely where you will need to file.
Common Types of Hawaii Property Disputes
Often, the result of a property dispute in Hawaii is the plaintiff will receive compensation to cover their losses. The most common property disputes include:
- Disputes between neighbors regarding where property lines exist
- Disputes between landlords and tenants regarding who is at fault for damage to the property
- Homeowners and real estate developers disagreeing over who is responsible for repairs on construction
- People blocking their neighbor’s view via a “spite fence” or another structure specifically made to annoy their neighbor
- Disputes between mortgage lenders and creditors over who can foreclose a property and who receives the proceeds of a sale
- Disputes between homeowners and government agencies about whether they have a utility easement
- Ownership disputes about who is the rightful owner of a property
- Issues with zoning
Beyond these examples, you may find other situations in Hawaii where a property dispute occurs. In general, if you own land, you have to constantly watch out for it and ensure that others are not using it illegally or trying to claim it as their own.
Understanding Typical Hawaii Property Disputes
The State Legislature of Hawaii affirms that a property owner is civilly liable for any damage caused by a tree on their property. This liability extends to hanging branches or protruding roots that cause damage. The property owner is not only responsible for financial or property damage, but also personal injury damages, should any occur. Surprisingly, there are no specific protections for farmland in Hawaii, according to One Rural. Instead, the laws crafted by the state exist primarily to protect farmers from nuisance suits. Generally these address property claims or noise pollution.
Legal Process for Boundary Disputes in Hawaii
Has someone brought a property dispute against you in Hawaii, or are you starting a property dispute against someone else? If so, you need to understand the legal process you will go through. This process begins with understanding the issue at hand.
Understand the Boundary Issue
To understand the specific boundary dispute, you’ll have to do the following things:
- Complete a land survey to locate the exact boundary of your home as outlined in the legal description of the deed. This survey will help you understand your property and how much of your land is encroached.
- Conduct an appraisal to learn the exact market value of the piece of property that is in dispute.
- Do a title search to find all of the documents in the chain of title of your Hawaii property. The title search will show if any deeds may affect your ownership.
These things will likely have happened when you purchased the home. If that’s the case, the documents you already have should suffice unless the case goes to court.
The State of Hawaii lays out boundaries and statutes for property owners that reside in the state. For example, Hawaii residents must obtain a permit before building a fence around their property. However, no permit or license is necessary when replacing an existing fence. In addition, a neighbor can not put up a fence on any of your property without your express consent.
Try to Find a Solution with Your Neighbor
Hawaii dispute litigation can cost a fortune, not to mention it can take a long time to settle a dispute. That’s why it’s important to open a discussion between you and your neighbor. If you can reach an agreement and settle the dispute without going to court, you can save time and money.
Try to communicate directly with your neighbor. You can attempt sending a letter, email, making a phone call, or visiting their home if that’s a safe option.
If no progress happens and it’s clear that you and your neighbor are still on completely different pages, then it’s time to take legal action.
Send a Demand Letter
At this point, you should consider hiring an attorney to assist you. They can help you understand if you have legal grounds upon which to stand. If you do, then you can send a demand letter.
This letter will be from your Hawaii attorney to your neighbor, and it will outline the property dispute. It will give your neighbor the option to respond via a requested action, or it will provide a reasonable price for settling the dispute out of court.
Your neighbor will likely forward this letter to their attorney to better understand the boundary dispute. From there, the attorneys on both sides will decide the best course of action moving forward.
Go to Court or Reach a Settlement
Typically, the best option for both sides is to settle the dispute out of court to avoid costly litigation fees. But if your negotiations are going nowhere, it might be necessary to file the dispute with the court. The court will look closely at the evidence presented and determine who owns the Hawaii property in question. If you can’t reach an agreement, then the court will make a final decision based on the evidence you both submit. The court’s decision is legally binding. You may not agree with it, or it may not be exactly the result you wanted to see. That is why it is always in your best interest to settle.
Work With an Experienced Local Property Dispute Lawyer in Hawaii
When it comes to property disputes, you should work with an experienced property dispute lawyer. Whether you’re filing a property dispute against your neighbor or you are defending a dispute brought against you, you’ll need a lawyer that understands Hawaii property law on your side. An experienced lawyer can help you settle before taking the dispute to court, which will save you both time and money. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Hawaii state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!